The time had arrived. I was flying the Garuda Airlines. I had flown it before but on a different sector as a part of my full route. This was the first time I was flying a direct flight from Mumbai to Bali, my destination!
Yes, you heard right. A DIRECT flight to Bali. To say I was excited, would be an understatement. Because well, who doesn’t want a non-stop flight to one’s destination?
As I reached the check-in counter at Mumbai Airport, I saw many passengers. Out of curiosity I asked if the flight was full and to my surprise, it was! The inaugural flight was full! That shows, so many people travel from Mumbai to Bali, and as if they were all waiting for this sector to be launched. The airlines now flies thrice a week to Bali and back. On my return journey, I was pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to business class.
Here is my experience on both onward and return flights.
At the airport:
On reaching Mumbai airport, the check-in was smooth. Unlike my previous trips to Indonesia, I was handed over just one boarding pass. Benefits of a direct flight! 🙂 Since it was the inaugural flight, there was a small program organized by Garuda Airlines at the business lounge where people from the airlines spoke about various new routes and the growth of the airlines.
This is an area which matters most to the passengers but where many airlines fail. Isn’t it? After all, if the in-flight service is poor, you can’t admire the aircraft or even the view!
I flew economy while going. The cabin crew, which has been rated as the no. 1 cabin crew in the world for the fourth year in a row, had no idea that a reviewer is sitting there. That is one of the ways I like to check the crew’s behavior towards the passengers. I was treated like just any other passenger and I liked it. 🙂
On my return flight, it was business class. Before I could even settle down, an air hostess came with those magic words “Would you like a pre-takeoff champagne, madam?” ‘Yes, please’. I wanted a champagne to celebrate the occasion.
Food & Drink:
Another important feature of any air travel is food section. How much does the airlines cares about its passengers’ food choices? If it is taking care of traveling infants or special meals people, then half the job is done. They have a variety of options to choose from. Being diabetic, I had pre-booked a diabetic meal and it was served there on my table.
The food in business class looked very appealing. It was a generous portion with excellent presentation. Oh, delicious too! It cleared all my doubts about a tasteless and boring food that is normally served to diabetics.
In between the meal and drinks, we had requested for masala chai and soon we were sipping good hot masala chai at thousands of feet above sea level and having mid-air discussions.
A LCD TV screen was looking at me curiously wanting to know what I was going to watch. There were films of innumerable genres, periods, languages and countries of origin, besides, television shows, music albums and games to entertain. While I preferred to sleep on Mumbai-Bali sector, I chose to watch two movies back to back on return flight and was pretty impressed with the quality. A video touchscreen handset and noise-cancelling headphones made my job easy. 🙂
Every seat has a seat-back touchscreen. I could also scroll through e-versions of past issues of the in-flight travel magazine. So it is not just the current print issue that you can read, but also the past issues. The safety instructions are also displayed on the screen. For those who do not want to indulge in on-screen media, there are in-flight magazines & newspapers.
Didn’t use much but WiFi connection was good enough.
For my Mumbai-Bali flight, I was one of the first ones to board. I almost ran towards my seat and clicked a few shots before anyone could come into my frame. Wanted an empty aircraft shot!
On first glance, I fell in love with it. The interior cabin colors in Garuda Indonesia’s aircrafts are dominated by natural colors terracotta brown, brick-red and Tosca green which in my opinion, reflect the visual beauty of the country… earth and water. The seats were in 2-4-2 configuration, comfortable with sufficient leg room and each seat had a pillow and blanket. Cabin interior was very clean with good light and great seat. I enjoy this seat configuration that has good space.
On the return leg, enjoyed the airport business lounge at Bali. The gorgeous lounge has all the facilities including a shower if you want to. It offered comfortable seating and sufficient range of snacks and drinks. I restricted myself to banana & corn fritters and fruits.
Free wi-fi, food, drinks and what not. My waiting time just flew away.
In business class I got an amenity kit which had all necessary items in it. The most interesting thing for me was a small bottle of signature cologne. A unique fragrance developed for Garuda Airlines. They have it in their aircraft lavatories too. I was told, on long haul flights they also provide you a set of pajamas!
There’s plenty of space around you to keep your things. To talk of leg space, I think one can easily put a bed between two seats! Best of all was the seat’s ability to transform into a fully flat bed. My cushioned seatback actually folded down to create a flat bed. Seats were forward facing in a 2-2-2 configuration.
What I also liked was the flight timings both ways. From Mumbai it started at 21:50 which means I could sleep for around 6 hours as per my daily routine at home. No jet lag or sleepy eyes the next day. The return flight was at 15:40 reaching Mumbai at around 20:30, again a good time to reach home for dinner.
No wonder, in 2016 Garuda Indonesia was ranked a 5 star airline.
Landing and take off, both were extremely smooth. Didn’t feel even a slightest bump. Hats off to airlines, maintenance team and of course the pilots!! 😀
Things to know about Garuda:
— The boarding pass has a code that offers you discounts on various retail shops for a week.
— Like any other miles programs, Garuda Indonesia also has a frequent flyer program, GarudaMiles which allows members to earn miles on domestic and international flights and has four tiers of membership. Garuda is also part Skyteam membership program.
— The Business class passengers have access to the Garuda Lounges at the airports.
— In case you want a special meal like I did, you need to pre-book it so you can enjoy the meal on board without any hassles.
— It is World’s Best Airline for Halal Traveller.
Have you flown business class anytime? What was your experience?
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P.S.- This article Mumbai-Bali Direct Flight with Garuda Airlines belongs to Le Monde, the Poetic Travels, an Indian Travel Blog, by the traveling couple, Nisha & Vasudevan R. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on another website rather than the RSS feed reader or www.lemonicks.com, then that website is guilty of stealing my content. Kindly do us a favour. Please visit our site and let us know. Thank you.
Great expansion from Garuda to cover the line, lots of opportunities for people in Mumbai to go to Bali. I have not flown Garuda in Business Class but they keep on getting awards and have come a long way since the times when they were banned from flying to European air space, I think it is time to give them another chance
I love direct flights. I am used to living in Tucson Arizona in America and I could never get a direct flight to anywhere. Now, in Orlando, there are hundreds of destinations to choose from. I love business class too. The food really is good and it makes a long haul seem that much shorter. This seems like a great route and I will be looking for more Bali content from you guys in the future.
Sounds like a wonderful experience whether you’re traveling economy or business class, although a pre-flight glass of champagne would be hard to beat. I like the idea of muted colors and so admire that legroom! American air companies have gone to the dogs no matter what level you fly.
It was indeed a wonderful experience. With all the things taken care of, we just had to enjoy the journey. 😀
Oh, many airlines have gone to the dogs while others are taking their places.
Business class looks very classy and spacious!
Economy isn’t bad either. Loved the colors of seats and they also look spacious. 4 seats in the middle are best. Hope they have not cut on luggage weight limit.
What’s the fare of Mumbai Bali return ticket?
Sounds like an amazing experience with an airline! I haven’t tried business class, before though… Direct flights are indeed more convenient than connecting flights. I’ve yet to fly with Garuda Airlines but I’d sure would love to in one of my future trips as their service sounds incredible!
How great to be able to get nonstop now from Mumbai to Bali! Will make it even more popular destination, I bet! Amazing to be on inaugural flight and upgraded to business for the return… Looks like service, food and entertainment lived up to expectations!
Looks like you quite a pleasant experience with the direct flight and good to hear that the cabin crew looked after the passengers well. I’ve found over years and plenty of flights I’ve taken sometimes the cabin crew can be quite rude to passengers in economy. I’ve never actually flow with Garuda before but good to know if ever I’m back in Asia.
I have never flown an inaugural flight of an airline, that is so cool! Honestly, I haven’t heard of Garuda but it’s nice that you now have a direct flight between Mumbai and Bali and I am not surprised that it was full, so many people fly from India to Bali, it has become one of the key destinations for Indians! Seems like a pretty cool airline, they have good food options and entertainment, what more does one want anyway?
I’ve never heard of Garuda Airlines before, but it sounds like they’re really thinking of the customers. Does anyone turn down a pre-takeoff champagne? It’s a huge plus the food was also good and there was a variety to choose from.
Amazing experience you had on your flight. It seems the service, the food, and the facilities of this plane are excellent. Everything looks so comfortable and feels comfortable. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Wow Mumbaikars are lucky to get this direct flight. The interiors of Garuda aircraft looks classy! I like the colors of furnishings inside.
I have never flown business class so it must be an awesome experience once I’ve tried it. Garuda looks like an excellent plane to fly with, may consider it if I have the chance to travel often in Asia. You are lucky to be part of the direct Mumbai-Bali maiden flight and being upgraded to business class on your return journey.
Sounds like a really great and comfortable flight! The interiors look really nice too!
I ‘d never heard of Garuda Airlines before, but it looks amazing! As a vegan, I identify with you on how difficult it can be to get a tasty meal onboard. I also identify with enjoying a glass of champagne! Haha. It looks so spacious – and how awesome that it’s a non-stop flight. I’d purchased a flight from Delhi to Bali (didn’t end up going), and I believe there were two stops along the way. Glad you enjoyed your flight- and great to know about Garunda!
Nice to see Garuda Airlines having a direct flight from Bal to Mumbai, hope they have one from Bangalore too. I really like the look of the seating and the overall ambience of the planes. The leg-room, especially in Business class is really worth raving about. The other amenities to appear to be top-notch. Garuda Airlines sure knows how to take care of its passengers.
Now this is a treat! And in mid Air! This airline does score on all possible amenities but I think the most important one is the fact that you can get to Bali faster. Most other flights from India always have a layover and that sometimes gets a little frustrating. Love the little details that Garuda has thought through when it comes to pampering you for these long hauls
The legroom!!! Wooaahh, this will work perfectly for someone like me with a back condition that needs to stretch and move a lot to avoid back pains!
I’ve never flown with Garuda before but it looks like a great choice. Your meal looks good too, and it makes a big difference to have it served on a tray! I’ve been 2 times already to Bali, but from Italy. Maybe the next time, I will look for Garuda!
I have always heard back things about this airline and think they were even banned in Europe at one time. I’m really impressed by what I’ve read. I’d no idea their staff were voted best in the world. Maybe it’s time to try this airline.
The business class looks really great and classy. The food looks yummy and it’s good that you can pre-order. I’ve never heard about this airline before but would love to try once. Thank you for sharing your experience.
This business class looks amazing! I can’t believe how nice it is. I’ve never heard of this airline – but definitely worth trying. Thanks for all the info!
Wow. This is great news. I traveled to Bali from Delhi in May and it was an unpleasant experience changing flights with a young child. The crew too was not very friendly. Good to know the crew serves you well and will definitely fly Garuda next time.
I always love direct flights, and they’re extra great for long haul trips. I’m not a fan of layovers, and especially for a destination like Bali I think the less hassle you have the better so you can hit the ground running as soon as you land. Looks like you definitely had a great experience on the flight 🙂
Happy to know that they now have direct flights. It makes travelling cheaper and faster. Hope the can offer more flights across not so popular places soon.
Direct flights are way better. It seems that the flight was very pleasant and the photos are great. they make me want to check out Garuda Airlines to see what flights they have that I can book 😛